• Grand Jury

    Dante’s Guide: Preparing the Grand Jury Witness

    Finally, one gets to quote Dante while talking about grand jury witnesses: In the year 1300, at age 35, the narrator of Dante’s Inferno famously finds himself in trouble: Midway in our life’s journey, I went astray from the straight road and woke to find myself alone in a dark wood.  How shall I say what wood that was!  I never saw so drear, so rank, so arduous a wilderness! Its very memory gives a shape to fear. The grand jury witness finds himself or herself in a position not unlike that of the Italian poet at the beginning of his trek through the Divine Comedy.  The federal grand jury…

  • Cocktails,  Poetry

    Thanksgiving Cocktails, Truman Capote, Puritan Poetry

    A few notes for your Thanksgiving: a holiday examination, Mumm champagne, an old-fashioned cocktail from Garden & Gun, the French 75 (its history and variants), Puritan poetry (no Puritans = no Thanksgiving), Truman Capote and Loudon Wainwright III. First, while still sober, take this test from Liquor.com: From the formidable Emily Arden Wells  at Gastronomista, a Cocktail Friendsgiving with G.H. Mumm Champagne.   Although I usually repair to gin drinks, this recipe for an old-fashioned from Garden & Gun is the real thing: If, like me, you do not care for Bloody Marys, a French 75 — essentially, a cocktail made with gin (or sometimes cognac), simple syrup, fresh lemon…

  • Congressional Investigations,  Special Counsel

    Whitewater and Russian Rapids

    On “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” to discuss the Mueller indictments: Jack Sharman – MSNBC – The 11th Hour with Brian Williams (Oct. 31, 2017) from LFW on Vimeo. We have discussed the Special Counsel’s case before: Search Warrants and Russia Raids. Congress will likely take a turn here.  We have reviewed the role of Congressional investigations and special counsel investigations: Congressional Investigations, Criminal Cases and The Knights Who Say “Ni!” Lessons From An Ex-Congressional Lawyer   Where Did You Go, Batman? Martin Shkreli, Congress, the Fifth Amendment and You  

  • Internal Investigations,  Parallel Proceedings,  Title IX

    Title IX: Fair Campus, Foul Weather

    With Education Secretary Betsey Devos much in the news  over possible changes to the Dear Colleague letter promulgated by the DOE’s Office of Civil Rights, this note by me and my Lightfoot colleagues  Brandon Essig and Clint Speegle in University Business is timely: High-profile lawsuits, OCR investigations and new congressional legislative interest have all conspired to mean that colleges and universities ignore the Dear Colleague situation to their peril. Unlike the disciplinary process for a cheating scandal, the resolution of a sexual assault case is a classic “parallel-proceedings” scenario. At any moment there may be an administrative proceeding (by the university), as well as a criminal investigation (by external law enforcement)…

  • Cocktails,  Crime Fiction

    Lauren Bacall and The Big Sleep: Film Noir Cool, White Collar Crime, Cocktail Cold

    To the extent that it reflected crime, Lauren Bacall’s work was noir, not white-collar; black, not white; guns, not accounting fraud.  Yet, there was an elegance and a fierceness about her films – especially those with Humphrey Bogart – that are familiar to those who work in a white-collar crime landscape. David Brooks, writing in the New York Times, reflects on The Bacall Standard.  In particular: [Raymond] Chandler was not particularly kind to women, though. It was up to the director Howard Hawks and his star, Lauren Bacall — who died this week — to give that era a counterpart female ideal, a hero both tough and tender, urbane and fast-talking,…

  • Impeachment,  Public Corruption

    Impeachment Lessons and The Midnight Special

    This post will eventually test your affinity for the 1970s, which featured both Richard Nixon and The Midnight Special. The Special was formative in my teenage years, which explains a great deal. But first, many thanks to the Network of Trial Law Firms for the opportunity to speak in New York on “Impeachment Lessons for Internal Investigations”: People sometimes ask for good basic texts about impeachment generally.  Here are a few suggestions: Impeachment: A Handbook by Charles Black.  This slender, clear, nuanced volume is where you should start. As noted by Lawfare blog: The most important book ever written on presidential impeachment is only 69 pages long. Charles Black, Jr.,’s Impeachment:…

  • Cocktails

    Gin Van, Joan Collins and Rare Earth

    Friday is upon us, so a few notes about cocktails. The cocktail snob is suffering a (deserved) backlash, as Robert O. Simonson of the New York Times points out in When Bad Drinks Go Good: Just as the cocktail renaissance has brought renewed fame to classics like the martini, the Manhattan and the Negroni, it has heaped fresh infamy on a rogues’ gallery of less classy concoctions, most of which emerged during the final decades of the last century. Now a backlash of sorts has begun, as some high-end bartenders apply their skills to a new challenge: doing bad drinks well. Bars like Holiday Cocktail Lounge in New York; Pépé Le Moko…

  • Crime Fiction,  Film,  Privilege,  Trials, Judges and Jurors

    White-Collar Motive, Gun Crazy Movie

    In 1950, producers Frank and Maurice King released Gun Crazy, a sometimes surreal Bonnie-and-Clyde story with an introverted, pacifist gun lover (Barton Tare, played by John Dall) and an English femme fatale sharpshooter  (Annie Laurie Starr, played by Peggy Cummins).  Carried forward by his lust for and fascination with Annie, the non-violent Bart — without thinking or planning — becomes a robber and, eventually, an accessory to murder. A classic American film noir, Gun Crazy has merited a book (Eddie Mueller’s Gun Crazy: The Origin of American Outlaw Cinema) and much commentary by film buffs.  It also gives us insight into a common question in white-collar cases: “Why did he [or she, but usually…

  • Search Warrants

    Search Warrants and Russia Raids

    The execution of a search warrant on a residence owned by Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign director, raises some interesting questions.  Search warrants are rarely necessary in white-collar cases, yet their use seems to be more and more common. Here was my take on Brian Williams’s MSNBC show The 11th Hour: As I told Michael Schmidt of the New York Times: “A search warrant is very bracing for the person who is being searched,” said Jack Sharman, the former special counsel to the House Banking Committee during its Whitewater investigation of President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. “It’s very invasive and sends a loud statement from the prosecutors to the…

  • Cocktails

    Summer Crime, “Young Lawyers,” Martinis

    Summer’s heat is fully upon us.  Let us take a moment for crime fiction and cocktails. For recent crime-fiction releases, take a look at Midmonth Book Notes  from The Poisoned Pen bookstore. Also, here is a useful “review of reviewers” from The Rap Sheet blog.  And, for the visually-oriented, The Rap Sheet has a YouTube channel.  One clip I found there was for a show called “The Young Lawyers,” which ran from 1969 to 1971 and which I vaguely recall.  As described by IMDb: David Barrett [a young-looking Lee J. Cobb] heads an organization in Boston that supports poor and indigent clients with the aid of young lawyers, Aaron Silverman is the young…